First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the chancellor’s announcement he is to scrap VAT charges on Scotland’s police and fire services.
She said the move, announced during Phillip Hammond’s budget on Wednesday, was long overdue.
She has now called for the £140 million of VAT paid by Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service since their inception to be refunded.
Ms Sturgeon said: “It’s an absolute disgrace it’s taken so many years for the UK Government to do the right thing here.
“Police Scotland the the fire service in Scotland should never have been paying VAT and are the only emergency services in the UK to do so.”
She added: “I hoped for two things today.
“Obviously a clear commitment, overdue but nevertheless important, that they won’t need to pay VAT from here on in but secondly, I hoped we would hear from the chancellor that the backdated amount of VAT that has already been paid by the police and fire service will be refunded.”
Ms Sturgeon said moving to a single police force and fire service had been a commitment given by the Scottish Conservatives in 2011.
“It is therefore inexplicable that the Tories have chosen to penalise the emergency services in the way they have,” she said.